Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: Holst’s The Planets 360: Full Dome Experience

Cutting edge technology on display with a brilliant musical soundtrack

Cutting edge technology on display with a brilliant musical soundtrack

Presented by: Electric Dreams

Reviewed: 17 February, 2024

Electric Dreams have combined NASA planetary images, reimagined by the National Space Center in the UK, with the wonderful music of Gustav Holst’s Planet Suite, played by the London Philharmonia Orchestra. The program is introduced by space scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock. She provides a brief rundown on what we have learned about the planets over the centuries and on Holst’s music. 

This is truly an immersive experience in the incredible dome within the Freemasons Hall. The amazingly smooth transitions between images were combined with the planet (in the foreground) orbiting in the opposite direction to the vastness of space (in the background). At times I was convinced it was me moving, as if I was on a boat, moving up and down or sideways with the waves. This makes the audience feel like participants in the action rather than just observers. 

Mars, the Bringer of War is the first planet we see and hear. It is my favourite piece in the Planet’s suite. The stirring, martial music matched well with the animation of the Mars rover Exo Falcon, from launch to landing and then beginning its exploration of the red planet through drilling into the surface.   

Seating is mainly on bean bags where one can lie back and soak in the visual and aural experience, although chairs are available for those of us who could get down but have trouble getting up! There are 8 projectors providing an almost kaleidoscopic view of the heavenly bodies which inspired Holst. The focus moves from distant to almost microscopic as the images move across and around the surface of the dome. 

Whether or not you have a special interest in astronomy, planetary exploration or classical music, this show is a wonderful experience. It showcases how cutting edge technology can provide new insights and experiences when combined with music which was written over 100 years ago.

Reviewed by Jan Kershaw

Venue: Great Hall at Electric Dreams @ Freemasons Hall
Season: Sat, 17 Feb – Sun, 17 Mar at 2pm
Duration: 50 mins
Tickets: $8 to $12

G rated with warning for very loud noises

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